Prime Minister of Italy

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President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic
Presidente del Consiglio dei Ministri della Repubblica Italiana
Flag of prime minister of Italy.svg
Flag of the President of the Council of Ministers
Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri.gif
Seal of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers
Giuseppe Conte Official.jpg
Incumbent
Giuseppe Conte

since 1 June 2018
Style President (reference and spoken)
Premier (reference, informal)
His Excellency (diplomatic, outside Italy) [1]
Member of Government
European Council
Residence Palazzo Chigi
Seat Rome
Appointer President of the Republic
Term length No term limit
The Prime Minister's term of office ends when the Parliament withdraws its confidence to the Cabinet or in case of resignation
Inaugural holder Camillo Benso di Cavour
Formation17 March 1861
Website governo.it
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This article is part of a series on the
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The President of the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic [2] (Italian: Presidente del Consiglio dei ministri della Repubblica Italiana), commonly referred to in Italy as Presidente del Consiglio, or informally as Premier and known in English as the Prime Minister of Italy, is the head of government of the Italian Republic. The office of Prime Minister is established by Articles 92 through to 96 of the Constitution of Italy. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of the Republic after each general election and must have the confidence of the Italian Parliament to stay in office.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.

English language West Germanic language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and eventually became a global lingua franca. It is named after the Angles, one of the Germanic tribes that migrated to the area of Great Britain that later took their name, as England. Both names derive from Anglia, a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. The language is closely related to Frisian and Low Saxon, and its vocabulary has been significantly influenced by other Germanic languages, particularly Norse, and to a greater extent by Latin and French.

Head of government is a generic term used for either the highest or second highest official in the executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, who often presides over a cabinet, a group of ministers or secretaries who lead executive departments. The term "head of government" is often differentiated from the term "head of state", as they may be separate positions, individuals, or roles depending on the country.

Contents

Prior to the establishment of the Italian Republic, the position was called President of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of Italy (Presidente del Consiglio dei ministri del Regno d'Italia). From 1925 to 1943 during the Fascist regime, the position was transformed into the dictatorial position of Head of the Government, Prime Minister, Secretary of State [3] (Capo del Governo, primo ministro, segretario di Stato) held by Benito Mussolini, Duce of Fascism, who officially governed on the behalf of the King of Italy. King Victor Emmanuel III removed Mussolini from office in 1943 and the position was restored with Marshal Pietro Badoglio becoming Prime Minister in 1943. Alcide De Gasperi became the first Prime Minister of the Italian Republic in 1946.

Italian Fascism Fascist ideology as developed in Italy

Italian Fascism, also known as Classical Fascism or simply Fascism, is the original fascist ideology as developed in Italy. The ideology is associated with a series of three political parties led by Benito Mussolini, namely the Fascist Revolutionary Party (PFR) founded in 1915, the succeeding National Fascist Party (PNF) which was renamed at the Third Fascist Congress on 7–10 November 1921 and ruled the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 until 1943 and the Republican Fascist Party that ruled the Italian Social Republic from 1943 to 1945. Italian Fascism is also associated with the post-war Italian Social Movement and subsequent Italian neo-fascist movements.

Dictatorship form of autocratic government led by a single individual

A dictatorship is an authoritarian form of government, characterized by a single leader or group of leaders with either no party or a weak party, little mass mobilization, and limited political pluralism. According to other definitions, democracies are regimes in which "those who govern are selected through contested elections"; therefore dictatorships are "not democracies". With the advent of the 19th and 20th centuries, dictatorships and constitutional democracies emerged as the world's two major forms of government, gradually eliminating monarchies, one of the traditional widespread forms of government of the time. Typically, in a dictatorial regime, the leader of the country is identified with the title of dictator, although their formal title may more closely resemble something similar to "leader". A common aspect that characterized dictators is taking advantage of their strong personality, usually by suppressing freedom of thought and speech of the masses, in order to maintain complete political and social supremacy and stability. Dictatorships and totalitarian societies generally employ political propaganda to decrease the influence of proponents of alternative governing systems.

Benito Mussolini Duce and President of the Council of Ministers of Italy. Leader of the National Fascist Party and subsequent Republican Fascist Party

Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician and journalist who was the leader of the National Fascist Party. He ruled Italy as Prime Minister from 1922 to 1943; he constitutionally led the country until 1925, when he dropped the pretense of democracy and established a dictatorship.

The Prime Minister is the President of the Council of Ministers which holds executive power and the position is similar to those in most other parliamentary systems. The formal Italian order of precedence lists the office as being ceremonially the fourth most important Italian state office.

Parliamentary system form of government

A parliamentary system is a system of democratic governance of a state where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament. In a parliamentary system, the head of state is usually a person distinct from the head of government. This is in contrast to a presidential system, where the head of state often is also the head of government and, most importantly, the executive does not derive its democratic legitimacy from the legislature.

The Italian order of precedence is fixed by Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers (D.P.C.M.) of April 14, 2006 and of April 16, 2008. It is a hierarchy of officials in the Italian Republic used to direct protocol. The President, being head of state, is first, however the Prime Minister, the head of government, is fourth.

  1. The President of the Republic
  2. The President of the Senate of the Republic
  3. The President of the Chamber of Deputies
  4. The Prime Minister
  5. The President of the Constitutional Court
  6. Former Presidents of the Republic
  7. Vice Presidents of the Senate of the Republic
  8. Vice Presidents of the Chamber of Deputies
  9. The Vice Presidents of the Council of Ministers
  10. The Vice President of the Constitutional Court
  11. Ministers of the Republic
  12. Judges of the Constitutional Court
  13. The Vice President of the High Council of Courts
  14. Presidents of Regions
  15. The First President of the Supreme Court of Cassation
  16. The President of the National Council for Economics and Labour
  17. Deputy Ministers of the Republic
  18. Quaestors of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies, in order of seniority
  19. Presidents of Parliamentary Commissions
  20. The President of the Council of State
  21. The President of the Court of Accounts
  22. The Governor of the Central Bank of Italy
  23. The General Prosecutor of the Cassazione
  24. The Attorney General of the Republic
  25. The Chief of the Defence Staff
  26. Senators and Deputies, in order of appointment
  27. The President of the Accademia dei Lincei
  28. The President of the National Research Council
  29. The President of the Supreme Tribunal of the Waters
  30. The Vice President of the Council of Military Courts
  31. The Vice President of the High Council of Courts
  32. The Presidents of the Autonomous Provinces of Trentino and South Tyrol
  33. The Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Cassation
  34. Prefects, in their provinces
  35. Mayors, in their cities
  36. Presidents and General Prosecutors of the Court of Appeals
  37. Presidents of Provinces, in their cities
  38. Catholic Bishops, in their dioceses
  39. The Chief of the Army Staff
  40. The Chief of the Navy Staff
  41. The Chief of the Air Staff
  42. The President of the Permanent conference of Rectors
  43. Ambassadors, in order of establishment of diplomatic relations with their countries

Functions

As the President of the Council of Ministers, the modern Prime Minister leads the Cabinet (the Council of Ministers). In addition, the Prime Minister often leads a major political party and is required by the Constitution to have the confidence of the majority of the voting members of the Parliament.

Constitution of Italy supreme law of Italy

The Constitution of the Italian Republic was enacted by the Constituent Assembly on 22 December 1947, with 453 votes in favour and 62 against. The text, which has since been amended 15 times, was promulgated in the extraordinary edition of Gazzetta Ufficiale No. 298 on 27 December 1947. The Constituent Assembly was elected by universal suffrage on 2 June 1946, at the same time as a referendum on the abolition of the monarchy. The Constitution came into force on 1 January 1948, one century after the Statuto Albertino had been enacted. Although the latter remained in force after Benito Mussolini's March on Rome in 1922, it had become devoid of substantive value.

Italian Parliament legislature of Italy

The Italian Parliament is the national parliament of the Italian Republic. The Parliament is the representative body of Italian citizens and is the successor to the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1848–1861) and the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946). It is a bicameral legislature with 945 elected members and a small number of unelected members (parlamentari). It is composed of the Chamber of Deputies, with 630 members (deputati) elected on a national basis, and the Senate of the Republic, with 315 members (senatori) elected on a regional basis, plus a small number of senators for life, either appointed or ex officio. The two houses are independent from one another and never meet jointly except under circumstances specified by the Constitution.

In addition to powers inherent in being a member of the Cabinet, the Prime Minister holds specific powers, most notably being able to nominate a list of Cabinet ministers to be appointed by the President of the Republic and the countersigning of all legislative instruments having the force of law that are signed by the President of the Republic.

Article 95 of the Italian constitution provides that the Prime Minister "directs and coordinates the activity of the ministers". This power has been used to a quite variable extent in the history of the Italian state as it is strongly influenced by the political strength of individual ministers and thus by the parties they represent.

History of Italy occurrences and people in Italy throughout history

In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy. The Italic tribe of the Latins formed the city of Rome as a Kingdom, which eventually became a Republic that united Italy by the third century BCE and emerged as the dominant power in the entire Mediterranean Basin. In 27 BCE, Augustus established the Roman Empire and inaugurated the Pax Romana, two centuries of stability and relative peace in which Italy flourished as the leading political and economic centre of the known world.

The Prime Minister's activity has often consisted of mediating between the various parties in the majority coalition, rather than directing the activity of the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister's supervisory power is further limited by the lack of any formal authority to fire ministers, although a Cabinet reshuffle (rimpasto) or sometimes even an individual vote of no confidence on the part of Parliament may in practice provide a surrogate measure.

A motion of no-confidence, alternatively vote of no confidence, or (unsuccessful) confidence motion, is a statement or vote which states that a person in a position of responsibility is no longer deemed fit to hold that position, perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel detrimental. As a parliamentary motion, it demonstrates to the head of state that the elected parliament no longer has confidence in the appointed government. If a no confidence motion is passed against an individual minister they have to give their resignation along with the entire council of ministers.

History

The office was first established in 1848 in Italy's predecessor state, the Kingdom of Sardinia—although it was not mentioned in its constitution, the Albertine Statute. From 1848 to 1861, ten Prime Ministers governed the Kingdom, most of them being right-wing politicians.

Historical Right and Historical Left

Count Camillo Benso of Cavour, first Italian Prime Minister Camillo Benso Cavour di Ciseri.jpg
Count Camillo Benso of Cavour, first Italian Prime Minister

After the unification of Italy and the establishment of the kingdom, the procedure did not change. In fact, the candidate for office was appointed by the King and presided over a very unstable political system. The first Prime Minister was Camillo Benso di Cavour, who was appointed on 23 March 1861, but he died on 6 June the same year. From 1861 to 1911, Historical Right and Historical Left Prime Ministers alternatively governed the country.

One of the most famous and influential Prime Ministers of this period was Francesco Crispi, a left-wing patriot and statesman, the first head of the government from Southern Italy. He led the country for six years from 1887 until 1891 and again from 1893 until 1896. Crispi was internationally famous and often mentioned along with world statesmen such as Otto von Bismarck, William Ewart Gladstone and Salisbury.

Originally an enlightened Italian patriot and democrat liberal, Crispi went on to become a bellicose authoritarian Prime Minister, ally and admirer of Bismarck. His career ended amid controversy and failure due to becoming involved in a major banking scandal and subsequently fell from power in 1896 after a devastating colonial defeat in Ethiopia. He is often seen as a precursor of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. [4]

Giolittian Era

In 1892, Giovanni Giolitti, a young leftist politician, was appointed Prime Minister by King Umberto I, but after less than a year he was forced to resign and Crispi returned to power. In 1903, he was appointed again head of the government after a period of instability. Giolitti was Prime Minister five times between 1892 and 1921 and the second-longest serving Prime Minister in Italian history.

Giolitti was a master in the political art of trasformismo , the method of making a flexible, fluid centrist coalition in Parliament which sought to isolate the extremes of the left and the right in Italian politics. Under his influence, the Italian Liberals did not develop as a structured party. They were instead a series of informal personal groupings with no formal links to political constituencies. [5]

The period between the start of the 20th century and the start of World War I, when he was Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior from 1901 to 1914 with only brief interruptions, is often called the Giolittian Era. [6] [7] A left-wing liberal [6] with strong ethical concerns, [8] Giolitti's periods in office were notable for the passage of a wide range of progressive social reforms which improved the living standards of ordinary Italians, together with the enactment of several policies of government intervention. [7] [9]

Besides putting in place several tariffs, subsidies and government projects, Giolitti also nationalized the private telephone and railroad operators. Liberal proponents of free trade criticized the "Giolittian System", although Giolitti himself saw the development of the national economy as essential in the production of wealth. [10]

Fascist regime

Benito Mussolini, longest-serving Prime Minister of Italy and Duce of fascism Mussolini biografia.jpg
Benito Mussolini, longest-serving Prime Minister of Italy and Duce of fascism

The Italian Prime Minister presided over a very unstable political system as in its first sixty years of existence (1861–1921) Italy changed its head of the government 37 times.

Regarding this situation, the first goal of Benito Mussolini, appointed in 1922, was to abolish the Parliament's ability to put him to a vote of no confidence, basing his power on the will of the King and the National Fascist Party alone. After destroying all political opposition through his secret police and outlawing labor strikes, [11] Mussolini and his Fascist followers consolidated their power through a series of laws that transformed the nation into a one-party dictatorship. Within five years, he had established dictatorial authority by both legal and extraordinary means, aspiring to create a totalitarian state.

Mussolini remained in power until he was deposed by King Victor Emmanuel III in 1943 following a vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism. A few months later, he became the leader of the Italian Social Republic, a German puppet regime controlling just northern Italy. Mussolini held this post until his death in 1945.

First years of the Italian Republic

With the proclamation of the Italian Republic in 1946, the office received constitutional recognition. The First Republic was dominated by the Christian Democracy (Democrazia Cristiana, DC) political party which was the senior party in each government coalitions from 1946 to 1994 while the opposition was led by the Italian Communist Party (PCI), the largest one in Western Europe.

Alcide De Gasperi, first Prime Minister of the Italian Republic Alcide de Gasperi 2.jpg
Alcide De Gasperi, first Prime Minister of the Italian Republic

In the first years of the Republic the governments were led by Alcide De Gasperi, a Christian Democratic politician who had been Prime Minister for seven years. De Gasperi is also considered a founding father of the European Union.

After the death of the De Gasperi, Italy returned in a period of political instability and lot of cabinets were formed in few decades. The second part of the 20th century was dominated by De Gasperi's protegé Giulio Andreotti, who was appointed Prime Minister seven times from 1972 to 1992.

From the late 1960s until the early 1980s, the country experienced the Years of Lead, a period characterised by economic crisis (especially after the 1973 oil crisis), widespread social conflicts and terrorist massacres carried out by opposing extremist groups, with the alleged involvement of United States and Soviet intelligence. [12] [13] [14] The Years of Lead culminated in the assassination of the Christian Democrat leader Aldo Moro in 1978 and the Bologna railway station massacre in 1980, where 85 people died.

In the 1980s, for the first time since 1945 two governments were led by non-Christian Democrat Prime Ministers: one Republican (Giovanni Spadolini) and one Socialist (Bettino Craxi). However, the Christian Democrats remained the main government party. During Craxi's government, the economy recovered and Italy became the world's fifth largest industrial nation, gaining entry into the Group of Seven, but as a result of his spending policies the Italian national debt skyrocketed during the Craxi era, soon passing 100% of the GDP.

In the early 1990s, Italy faced significant challenges as voters—disenchanted with political paralysis, massive public debt and the extensive corruption system (known as Tangentopoli ) uncovered by the "Clean Hands" (mani pulite) investigation—demanded radical reforms. The scandals involved all major parties, but especially those in the government coalition: the Christian Democrats, who ruled for almost 50 years, underwent a severe crisis and eventually disbanded, splitting up into several factions. Moreover, the Communist Party was reorganised as a social democratic force, the Democratic Party of the Left.

The years of the Second Republic

Silvio Berlusconi, longest-serving post-war Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (2010) cropped.jpg
Silvio Berlusconi, longest-serving post-war Prime Minister

In the midst of the mani pulite operation which shook political parties in 1994, media magnate Silvio Berlusconi, owner of three private TV channels, founded Forza Italia (Forward Italy) party and won the elections, becoming one of Italy's most important political and economic figures for the next decade. Berlusconi is also the longest serving Prime Minister in the history of the Italian Republic and third-longest serving in the whole history after Mussolini and Giolitti.

Ousted after a few months of government, Berlusconi returned to power in 2001, lost the 2006 general election five years later to Romano Prodi and his Union coalition, but he won the 2008 general election and was elected Prime Minister again for the third time in May 2008. In November 2011, Berlusconi lost his majority in the Chamber of Deputies and resigned. His successor Mario Monti formed a new government, composed by "technicians" and supported by both the center-left and the center-right. In April 2013 after the general election in February, the Vice Secretary of the Democratic Party (PD) Enrico Letta led a government composed by both center-left and the center-right.

On 22 February 2014, after tensions in the Democratic Party the PD's Secretary Matteo Renzi was sworn in as the new Prime Minister. Only 39 years old upon taking office, he became the youngest Prime Minister in Italian history. Renzi proposed several reforms, including a radical overhaul of the Senate, a new electoral law and the reduction of the costs of politics. A lot of analysts, journalists and politicians thought that these steps meant the end of the Second Republic and the beginning of the Third. [15] However, the proposed reforms were rejected on 4 December 2016 by a referendum. [16] Following the referendum's results, Renzi resigned and his Foreign Affairs Minister Paolo Gentiloni was appointed new Prime Minister. On 1 June 2018, Giuseppe Conte was sworn in as Prime Minister, at the head of a populist coalition formed by Five Star Movement and the League. [17]

Living former Prime Ministers of Italy

See also

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